You’re familiar with the scenario: Commit to a diet and exercise routine in order to reach your health goals and a week later the military has you traveling across the country on TDY. But that doesn’t mean you have to beeline straight to Taco Bell on the way to the airport. Follow the lead of other nutrition-savvy travelers who keep up these seven habits, and see that geography doesn’t have to interrupt the quest for optimal health:
#1: They Plan Ahead
Before you head out of town, do some research to locate a nearby grocery store so you don’t become best friends with the pizza delivery guy. You want to stock your kitchen with supermarket staples like fruits, vegetables, yogurt, and eggs. By staying in a crash pad, you’ll easily be able to cook, as the kitchens have everything you need on hand.
#2: They Pack for Emergencies
Keep portion-controlled snacks and meal replacement bars handy to prevent you from ending up face-down in a bowl of Panda Express takeout when the hanger hits. Protein and healthy fats will keep you full until you have time for a proper meal. Stash RX bars, jerky, and single serving almond or trail mix packets in your bag and car.
#3: They Know Where to Find “Healthy” Fast Food
When you’re traveling, sometimes it’s impossible to avoid eating out. Chipotle is a well-known standby for nutrition savvy travelers. Order a burrito bowl and load up on beans, brown rice, meat, fajita vegetables, salsa, and guacamole. What about breakfast? At Starbucks, opt for fiber-rich classic oatmeal. Panera allows you to add spinach and tomato to any egg sandwich free of charge. Avocado is extra, but a worthy splurge.
#4: They Speak Up
We’re talking secret menus and asking for salad dressing on the side. Restaurants are usually willing to customize orders, so don’t be afraid to order off the menu. You may lose your party animal status by substituting steamed veggies or a side salad for French fries, but you’ll feel way better in the morning.
#5: They Hydrate
Pack an empty water bottle with you through airport security and fill it up at a drinking fountain or on the plane. Flying dehydrates which can make you feel less than your best. Don’t forget about sparkling or flavored water, which also counts toward your day’s water intake.
#6: They Utilize Technology
Fruit and Greek yogurt smoothies are packed with nutrition and easily taken on-the-go. Consider this blender, which is perfect for small living spaces and can even be recharged using your computer’s USB port. Download MyFitnessPal, a free app that tracks your daily food intake, water consumption and exercise. Don’t underestimate the power of accountability.
#7: They Ditch the Vacation Mindset
When you are truly on vacation, by all means, drink a Mai Tai and eat all the waffle fries. However, if traveling is a regular part of your job, there is no reason for short-term trips to set you back health-wise. You’ll feel so much better in the long run if you keep up good nutrition habits whether you’re at home or on the road.
Written by Kara Ludlow